Some names I’ve noticed lately, for better or for worse, on my travels in the real and virtual worlds.
I spent a few days in Chicago in late April, where I spotted these Ostrim “sports nutrition meat snacks” on display at a Freshii quick-serve “wellness” restaurant. (Freshii is worth a brief sidebar. The company, which was founded in 2005 and is based in Toronto, has a peppy online presence and a brand-enforcing fondness for double-i’s: A limited-time menu special is called Biiblos – no, I don’t know what that means – and the store payment card is called Monii. “Let’s transfer energii!” chirps the copy.)
As for Ostrim, as far as I can tell, the product name is a blend of ostrich and trim, probably because the original “meat snacks” were made from ostrich. Today, though – 22 years after the company’s founding in Greensburg, Pennsylvania – Ostrim snacks are equally as likely to contain beef, elk, chicken, or turkey. Moral: Don’t box yourself in with a name that can’t grow with your company.
Also: Consider how your name might be misinterpreted.
Sounds like bone support and weight loss all in one - with surprise ostrich.
Last week I took the Coast Starlight to Seattle, a city I hadn’t visited in decades, and Vancouver, BC, where I’d never been at all. The journey was leisurely and scenic, the weather was mild and dry, and the political climate shift after I crossed the border was startling in the best possible way. I don’t think I’d fully appreciated how exhausting it has been, over the last 18 months or so, to live in the U.S. until I found myself in a country where sanity and courtesy appear to be the norm.
Oh, and I did some brand-spotting. The theme: portmanteaus, good and bad.
I had a little extra time before meeting a friend at SFMOMA to see the “Soundtracks” exhibit (highly recommended), so I took a detour through for the food court of the Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street, looking for interesting brands.
I scored right away. “Interesting” doesn’t even begin to describe Loving Hut.
There is a lot going on here.
This all-vegan fast-food café had just opened for the day and there was already a long line of customers. I stood to the side and marveled at the weird name – a cousin of Pizza Hut, maybe? – and that fantastically hideous logo.
“Spelled in either direction, this white bone china by Fitz and Floyd® is pure heaven.”
“Nevaeh” is an ananym: heaven spelled backward. In 2006, the New York Times reported on “the spectacular rise of Nevaeh” as a girl’s name in the United States: it had broken into the top 1,000 baby names in 2001 at No. 266, “the third-highest debut ever.” In 2005, Nevaeh “was the 70th-most-popular name for baby girls, ahead of Sara, Vanessa and Amanda.” From the Times story:
The name has hit a cultural nerve with its religious overtones, creative twist and fashionable final "ah" sound. It has risen most quickly among blacks but is also popular with evangelical Christians, who have helped propel other religious names like Grace (ranked 14th) up the charts, experts say. By contrast, the name Heaven is ranked 245th.
Nevaeh continued to rise in popularity over the next few years, reaching 25th (according to Social Security Administration statistics) in 2010 before falling off slightly.
Nevaeh’s surge, the Times observed, “can be traced to a single event: the appearance of a Christian rock star, Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D., on MTV in 2000 with his baby daughter, Nevaeh. ‘Heaven spelled backwards,’ he said.”
But there was trouble in paradise.
In 2011, the Baby Name Wizard blog reported that an online survey had identified Nevaeh as “the most-hated name in America.” “Grounds for objection included look, sound and origin, the whole package,” commented blog author and name expert Laura Wattenberg.
I haven’t been able to find out how long ago Fitz and Floyd (“for half a century … synonymous with excellence in design, quality and style”) introduced the Nevaeh line, which is sold exclusively on the Bed Bath & Beyond website and in BB&B stores.
I was meandering through Costco, looking for some yummy tofu-skin noodles I’d sampled during a store demo a few weeks earlier. I never found the the noodles—Costco can be like that—but I did spot True Story, a new-to-me brand of organic meat products.
Hmm. You can tell a story, hear a story, read a story, or film a story. But can you taste a story?
Hue and cry first appeared in English in the late 13th century “as an Anglo-French legal term meaning ‘outcry calling for pursuit of a felon’,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which adds that “the extended sense of ‘cry of alarm’ is 1580s.” It’s a short, distinctive, and perfectly evocative name for a security company.
The hue in hue and cry is an Old French word meaning “outcry, noise, war or hunting cry” (“probably of imitative origin,” says the Online Etymology Dictionary). It’s unrelated to the hue that means “color,” which comes from Old English hiw (“color, appearance”).